Islam is the official state religion of Yemen and the Constitution states that Islamic law is the source of all legislation.1https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/3fc4c1e94.pdf Freedoms of religion, speech and the press are all severely restricted.
Yemen has been devastated since March 2015 in a war between Houthi separatist rebels who took control of territory in the north, and eventually the capital of Sana’a, against government forces backed by a Saudi-led multinational coalition.2https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29319423 The Saudi-led coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab states, with logistical and intelligence support from the UK, USA and France, considers that the Houthi rebels are supported by the Shia power Iran, and therefore the conflict may be considered a proxy war.3https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29319423More than 100,000 people have been killed since the conflict erupted in 2014.4https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security/u-n-condemns-air-strikes-in-yemen-that-reportedly-killed-children-idUSKCN253277 A significant majority of fatalities appear to be civilians killed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led multi-national coalition.
The conflict and blockade have left the majority of the population in need and dependent on aid. In June 2020, United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres reported that four out of five in Yemen are in need of lifesaving aid, which amounts to 24 million people.5https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1065292 The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the humanitarian situation further.
Yemen is a member of the League of Arab States (LAS), as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
|Constitution and government||Education and children’s rights||Family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals||Freedom of expression advocacy of humanist values|
Expression of non-religious views is severely persecuted, or is rendered almost impossible by severe social stigma, or is highly likely to be met with hatred or violence
Government authorities push a socially conservative, religiously or ideologically inspired agenda, without regard to the rights of those with progressive views
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Croatia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Congo, Republic of the, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Honduras, Iceland, India, Japan, Korea, Republic of, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, United States of America, Uruguay
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Congo, Republic of the, Dominica, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Republic of, Kosovo, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sweden, Taiwan, Uruguay, Venezuela
Countries: Austria, Congo, Democratic Republic of, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam
Countries: no countries relate to this boundary condition
Countries: no countries relate to this boundary condition
This condition is unusual in that it is applied in cases where there is some social discrimination, but it is not pervasive or nationwide. This condition is applied when there is sufficient background evidence to warrant the assertion that discrimination is not anomalous but widespread, and this condition may be applied for example even where if there is no legislative discrimination or where the non-religious may have legal recourse against such discrimination. However, societal discrimination (i.e. discrimination by peers, as opposed to state or legal discrimination) is not easily measured, and for this reason the Report does not currently have similar more severe boundary conditions to capture higher levels of social discrimination per se. In principle these may be introduced in future. However, we consider that countries with actual higher levels of social discrimination against the non-religious will generally already meet other higher level (more severe) boundary conditions under this thematic strand.
Applied when overriding acts of oppression by the State are extreme, to the extent that the question of freedom of thought and expression is almost redundant, because all human rights and freedoms are quashed by authorities.
Countries: North Korea
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malta, Moldova, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Fiji, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kosovo, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Italy, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, New Zealand, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela
Countries: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Armenia, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Republic of the, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Turkey, Uganda
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Vanuatu
This condition is applied where there are miscellaneous indicators that organs of the state offer various forms of support for a religion, or to religion in general over non-religious worldviews, suggesting a preference for those beliefs, or that the organs of that religion are privileged.
Countries: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
Countries: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe
This condition highlights countries where schools subject children to fundamentalist religious instruction with no real opportunity to question fundamentalist tenets, or where lessons routinely encourage hatred (for example religious or ethnic hatred). The wording “significant number of schools” is not given a rigid quantification (sometimes the worst-offending schools are unregistered, illegal, or otherwise uncounted); however the condition is not applied in cases where only a small number of schools meet the description and may be anomalous, as opposed to being indicative of a widespread problem.
Countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Qatar, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Angola, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Congo, Republic of the, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, North Korea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Finland, Georgia, Haiti, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Yemen, Zambia
Countries: Argentina, Armenia, Belize, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kiribati, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Tonga, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cyprus, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Grenada, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Denmark, Eritrea, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Fiji, Gambia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
This condition may apply if specifically religious education, religious materials, or specific religious denominations are so tightly controlled that children are in fact over-protected from exposure to religion and are likely unable to explore or construct their own worldview in accordance with their evolving capacities. This condition helps us to classify states (perhaps with secular constitutions) which have criminalized specifically religious beliefs or practices. This condition is not applied if the restricted beliefs or practices are found to be outlawed due to their being of an extremist variety. While this condition does not directly reflect discrimination against non-religious persons or non-religious ideas, it does represent an overall threat to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; such restrictions could spill over to affect non-religious beliefs later; and they pose a risk of backlash against over-zealous secular authorities or even against non-religious individuals by association.
Countries: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Korea, Republic of, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Montenegro, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
The Constitution of the Republic of Yemen declares that Islam is the state religion and that Islamic law is the source of all legislation (Articles 1-3). The local interpretation of Islamic law serves as a basis for all law, although Islamic jurisprudence coexists with secular common law and civil code models in a hybrid legal system.6https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/308.html
Yemen imposes substantial restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of expression, assembly and association. The Constitution does not specifically protect religious freedom, and other laws and policies restrict it. The Constitution states that defending religion is a sacred duty (Article 60), and to be eligible to stand for political office, individuals must fulfil their religious duties (Article 64(2)(d) and Article 107(d)).7https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/3fc4c1e94.pdf
A non-Muslim can run for parliament, although the Constitution restricts candidates for president to those who practice their “Islamic duties.” The law does not prohibit a political party based on religion, but states that a party cannot claim to be the sole representative of a religion, to be against Islam, or to restrict its membership to a particular religious group.8https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/YEMEN-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
The Parliament is currently “expired,” as its six-year term has ended and authority remains split among the internationally recognized Yemeni government, the Houthis, and other forces.9https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/08/31/human-rights-watch-submission-committee-economic-social-and-cultural-rights-yemen#_ftn15
Article 27 of the Constitution states:
The state shall guarantee freedom of scientific research and achievements in the fields of literature, arts and culture, which conform with the spirit and objectives of the Constitution. The state shall provide means conducive to such achievements and shall provide support and encouragement for scientific and technical invention, and artistic creation and shall protect achievements thereof.
The government prohibits proselytizing directed at Muslims.10https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/YEMEN-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
Primary education is compulsory between the ages of 6-14, however the armed conflict has had a detrimental effect on schools and disproportionately affected girls’ access to education.11https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/07/human-rights-watch-submission-committee-elimination-discrimination-against-women
It is prescribed by law that primary school students learn about Islamic rituals and history and culture within the context of Islamic civilization.12https://ye.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/275/International-Religious-Freedom-Report-6-25-2018-English.pdf Shia and Sunni Muslims are taught the same curriculum, but there are reports that schools in Houthi controlled areas are teaching Zaydi principles.13https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-report-on-international-religious-freedom/yemen/
There are no reports on the content of the religious curriculum that is being taught at private schools in Yemen.14https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-report-on-international-religious-freedom/yemen/
Despite the fact that Yemen is a State Party15https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/TreatyBodyExternal/Treaty.aspx?CountryID=193&Lang=EN to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,16https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx which defines “children” as any human being under the age of 18, the minimum legal age for marriage is 15 according to the Personal Status Law (1992).17https://yemen-nic.info/db/laws_ye/detail.php?ID=11351 A revised Constitution, tabled during the National Dialogue Conference, would have outlawed child-marriage; however the draft was ultimately rejected.18https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-explainer/why-yemen-is-at-war-idUSKCN22924D
Article 26 of the Constitution states that:
“The Family is the basis of society, its pillars are religion, customs and love of the homeland. The law shall maintain the integrity of the family and strengthen its ties.”
In 2018, the Equal Rights Trust found that “the weak legislative framework for protection of the right to non-discrimination is matched by poor enforcement.”19https://www.equalrightstrust.org/ertdocumentbank/Yemen_EN_online%20version.pdf
It is estimated that over 99% of the Yemeni population are Muslims.20https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ym.html Other religious minorities’ rights have reportedly been respected in the past.21https://freedomhouse.org/country/yemen/freedom-world/2020 As the de facto authority in Sana’a and northern regions, the Houthi rebels have persecuted the Baha’i community and Christians in the controlled areas. The small Jewish community also face discrimination by the Houthis.22https://freedomhouse.org/country/yemen/freedom-world/2020; https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/USCIRF%202020%20Annual%20Report_Final_42920.pdf
There are no reports of the treatment of non-religious people in Yemen.
There exists local customs that have been codified in various laws and policies, which discriminate against women and persons of non-Muslim religious groups. For instance, a woman’s testimony in court is equivalent to half that of a man, and women must obtain permission from the spouse or father to receive a passport and travel.23https://freedomhouse.org/country/yemen/freedom-world/2020
The Constitution implies a difference in legal status between men and women, by considering them to be the “sisters of men”. Article 31 of the Constitution stipulates that the rights and duties of women “are guaranteed and assigned by Shari’ah and stipulated by law.” As such, women are subject to a guardianship system.24https://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4bec620.html
According to Human Rights Watch:
“Prior to the conflict, women faced discriminatory laws that increased the vulnerability of females to violence, but during the current conflict, warring parties’ actions have led to the displacement of women and girls in large numbers, and exacerbated discrimination and violence against them.”25https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/07/human-rights-watch-submission-committee-elimination-discrimination-against-women
Of particular concern is the Personal Status Law (1992),26https://yemen-nic.info/db/laws_ye/detail.php?ID=11351 which includes provisions requiring women be “obedient” to their husbands; requiring women to obtain their husbands’ permission to seek employment; requiring women to obtain their husbands’ permission in order to leave the house except in a narrow set of circumstances; and obliging women to have sexual relations with their husbands whenever they so desire.
Article 232 of the Penal Code,27https://yemen-nic.info/db/laws_ye/detail.php?ID=11424 provides lenient sentences to a man who murders or injures his wife, mother, daughter, or sister or her partner after finding them in the act of committing adultery. In addition, where a family member has killed a female relative in the name of “honor,” he can be pardoned by his family.28https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/07/human-rights-watch-submission-committee-elimination-discrimination-against-women
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in some governates of Yemen, where the figures can be as high as 84 percent of women and girls who are cut, according to Human Rights Watch.29https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/07/human-rights-watch-submission-committee-elimination-discrimination-against-women
Same-sex sexual activities are illegal, and the penalties include lashes, imprisonment and death.30https://freedomhouse.org/country/yemen/freedom-world/2020; https://www.humandignitytrust.org/country-profile/yemen/ Under Yemeni law, marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, as such, same-sex marriage is outlawed. Further, social stigma surrounding homosexuality is reported to be high, with individuals having to conceal their sexual orientation or face threat of violence.31https://www.equalrightstrust.org/ertdocumentbank/Yemen_EN_online%20version.pdf
Family law prohibits marriage between a Muslim and an apostate; by law, apostates have no parental or child-custody rights.32https://ye.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/275/International-Religious-Freedom-Report-6-25-2018-English.pdf
Some laws, also based on custom, enforce significant interreligious discrimination. By law, Muslim women may not marry non-Muslims; Muslim men may not marry women who are not Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, or who have renounced Islam.33https://www.loc.gov/law/help/marriage/interfaith-prohibition.php#yemen
Although these restrictions are enshrined in law and upheld in practice, the government does not in fact maintain records of an individual’s religious identity. Religious groups do not need to register with the state.34https://ye.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/275/International-Religious-Freedom-Report-6-25-2018-English.pdf
Under the Law on Organizations and Civil Society, all organizations must adhere to Yemeni law, which includes Shariah law. As such, while it does not explicitly ban the formation of humanist and/or non-religious non-governmental organizations, it can be viewed as a de facto ban as registration of an organization that does not adhere to Shariah law is not possible.
Further, Article 132 of the law, which concerns international cooperation between Yemeni and foreign organization, states that the international organization must respect shariah law and Yemeni laws.
The government does not respect freedoms of expression and the press. Article 103 of the Press and Publications Law bans materials which “prejudices the Islamic faith”, call on people to apostasies, criticise of the head of state and outlaws published material that “might spread a spirit of dissent and division among the people” or that “leads to the spread of ideas contrary to the principles of the Yemeni Revolution” or that “[distorts] the image of the Yemeni, Arab, or Islamic heritage.”35https://al-bab.com/yemen-law-no-25-1990-press-and-publications
Freedom of expression is also severely limited in the north of the country as the de facto Houthi authorities surveil the society and armed groups intimidate people into self-censorship.36https://freedomhouse.org/country/yemen/freedom-world/2020
The conflict that has ravaged the country since 2014 has had a heavy toll on press freedom. The various parties to the conflict control the media, making neutral reporting rare. There are reports of arbitrary arrests of journalists and abusive treatment by militias.37https://rsf.org/en/yemen In April 2020, four journalists were sentenced to death for “broadcasting rumours, fake news and statements in support of the enemy Saudi Arabia”, among other charges.38https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/05/yemen-journalists-at-risk-of-execution-must-be-freed-to-mark-world-press-freedom-day/ The UN reported in August 2020 that human rights violations and abuse against journalists are carried out by all parties to the armed conflict.39https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/08/1069652
Access to the internet is not widespread, and the the Houthi authorities have blocked online access to certain media outlets, online messaging and social media platforms.40https://rsf.org/en/yemen; https://freedomhouse.org/country/yemen/freedom-world/2020
The “blasphemy” laws prohibit “ridicule” of religion.
Article 194 of the Penal Code41https://yemen-nic.info/db/laws_ye/detail.php?ID=11424 states:
“It is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 3 years, and a fine, whoever:
1. Publicly broadcasts [or communicates] views including ridicule and contempt of religion, in its beliefs, practices, or teachings.
2. Whoever publicly incites contempt for people or communities, thus disturbing public peace.”
Article 195 states that the punishment for this crime must be imprisonment up to five years or a fine if Islam is the religion subject of “ridicule”.42https://www.loc.gov/law/help/blasphemy/index.php#Yemen
Article 260 prescribes five years’ imprisonment or a fine to anyone who “deliberately distorts the Noble Qur’an in a way that changes its meaning with the intent to offend the true religion”.
The act of “apostasy” is punishable by death.43https://www.loc.gov/law/help/apostasy/index.php#yemen Under Yemeni law, “apostasy is considered to be pronounced words or deeds that are inconsistent with the rules and principles of Islam intentionally or with insistence” (Article 259). Those charged with “apostasy” are given three chances to repent, and if they chose to do, they are absolved from the death penalty.44https://ye.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/275/YEMEN-2018-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf “denouncing Islam” or any blasphemy conviction may constitute evidence of “apostasy”.
On 15 September 2018, criminal proceedings were initiated against 24 individuals, mostly from the Baha’i minority. The charges include apostasy, the teaching of the Baha’i faith, and espionage.45https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23704&LangID=E Both “apostasy” and espionage are capital offenses in Yemen. The defendants were not investigated nor were they informed by the prosecution of the pending charges against them prior to the start of the trial. As of June 2020, five of the 24 individuals remain in prison.46https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2020%20Yemen%20Country%20Update.pdf
In March 2020, a Houthi court in Sana’a sentenced 35 Yemeni parliamentarians to death, in absentia, on charges of treason. The pro-government parliamentarians were charged and sentenced for participating in a parliamentary meeting in 2019, which was called by the internationally recognized President Hadi.47https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1058901 The UN has called on the de facto Houthi authorities to quash the politically motivated sentences.48https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25670&LangID=E
Yemen executed at least 7 people in 2019, which was an increase from the year before where at least four were executed. Amnesty International reported that in 2019, at least 55 death sentences were handed down, where 38 of the individuals were convicted for spying. The sentences were handed down to journalists, political opponents and activists, among others. Almost all of the death sentences except one was handed down by the Houthi-run criminal courts.49https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/ACT5018472020ENGLISH.PDF
Mohammed Atboush, a medical student living in the port-city of Aden, reportedly survived an assassination attempt in January 2017, which is suspected to be linked to a widely-known book he wrote criticising Qur’anic pseudo-science. The son of a judge, Atboush also takes an interest in philosophy, and his book, Critique of Scientific Inimitability, was published February 2016 by Masarat Publishing & Distribution in Kuwait. The book critically examines claims that the Qur’an contains references to modern science. Atboush told al-bab.com that on 29 December 2016 he was shot at outside his own family home. The shots missed. The masked assailant fired twice before getting back into his car which then drove off.50al-bab.com/blog/2017/01/yemeni-who-questioned-quran-science-survives-assassination-attempt
Omar Mohammad Bataweel was abducted and murdered in April 2016, having been accused of being an atheist over a number of social media posts. His body was found the day after his abduction from the Crater district of Aden. He had been shot dead. Bataweel had been accused of being an atheist after making Facebook posts deemed by others to be “critical of Islam”. Bataweel had reportedly received death threats from extremists responding to the posts. Yemeni Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman (journalist, activist and politician) commented on the killing, blaming extremist vigilantes, and saying it was a result of “takfiri ideology”. She called on the authorities to bring the killers to justice.51alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2016/4/26/yemeni-murdered-by-extremists-after-being-accused-of-athiesm
On 14 May 2017, Amgad Abdulrahman, a 22-year-old law student and member of a cultural club set up by secularists, that would discuss taboo subjects such as religion, women’s rights and literature, was shot three times at an internet cafe in Aden. Although no one took responsibility for the killing, friends of the victim suspect that Abdulrahman was shot by Islamist Militants who are waging a campaign of persecution against secularists.
Soldiers from a local security force comprising Salafist Islamists, refused to let his family bury his body in the city cemetery as “he was not a Muslim”. In December 2016, Abdulrahman had been detained at a military base for being an atheist but was freed days later.52reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-assassination/secular-yemenis-live-in-fear-after-student-is-killed-in-aden-idUSKBN19H10E
|↑11, ↑25, ↑28||https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/07/human-rights-watch-submission-committee-elimination-discrimination-against-women|
|↑12, ↑32, ↑34||https://ye.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/275/International-Religious-Freedom-Report-6-25-2018-English.pdf|
|↑21, ↑23, ↑36||https://freedomhouse.org/country/yemen/freedom-world/2020|